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Cougars Look To Avoid Being Thunder Struck – Newcastle Preview

Newcastle Thunder v Keighley Cougars Match Preview by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)

Date: Sunday 3rd September

Time: 3:00pm

Venue: Kingston Park, Newcastle

After falling to a first Super Eights defeat to Whitehaven with a whimper last time out, Craig Lingard will be looking for a positive reaction from his side as they head to Newcastle this Sunday looking to make up for a 36-12 defeat at Kingston Park back in mid-June.


Newcastle Thunder fell to a 50-0 defeat in Canada at the hands of the League One leaders Toronto Wolfpack. Despite a brave effort throughout from Jason Payne’s side, the Wolfpack had too much for the Thunder on the day as they took a 22-0 lead into half-time before going on to score a further four tries in the second half to see of the men from the toon.

The Cougars slumped to a first Super Eights loss as they were easily brushed aside in a 36-4 defeat on the road at Whitehaven. Carl Forster’s side bounced back from a defeat away at Doncaster the week previous in comprehensive fashion as they ran in seven tries on the day with Andy Gabriel’s acrobatic second half effort no more than a consolation for Keighley.


Thunder Head Coach Jason Payne sees Jack Aldous return to the side after missing the trip to Toronto a fortnight ago. Alex Bielby and David Weetman are also called into the 19 for the visit of the Cougars with Zach Clark, Dan Parker and Josh Stoker all missing out. Liam McAvoy is available after avoiding suspension on Tuesday evening.

Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard will be without Scott Law (Leg), James Feather (Illness) and Hamish Barnes (Back) for this Sunday’s trip to Tyneside but welcomes back Josh Lynam (Suspension) and Sean Kelly (Paternity Leave) into the side. Vinny Finigan and Gavin Reed drop out of the 19 with Neil Cherryholme and Liam Darville called into the 19 man squad.


The Cougars previous visit to Kingston Park saw exciting full-back Lewis Young run rings round Craig Lingard’s side in an outstanding Man of the Match performance. He will have his work cut out this time around however as he takes on the wily veteran Ritchie Hawkyard who has been in scintillating from since his return from injury in July.


THUNDER: H Aldous; J Aldous; Barron; Bielby; Blair; Brown; Bustin; Clarke; Hardcastle; Luckley; McAvoy; Olpherts; Rennie; Shaw; Simons; Snitch; Teroi; Weetman; Young.

COUGARS: Aaronson; Bailey; Beharrell; Brook; Cherryholme; Conroy; Darville; Dixon; Emmett; Gabriel; Hawkyard; Kelly; Lynam; Nicholson; O’Sullivan; Rawlins; Ryder; Sagar; Tonks.


Newcastle Thunder Head Coach Jason Payne has yet to comment.

Keighley Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard: “We need to manage the game better than last time. We managed it well in the first half against the wind and were 14-12 down at half-time and in a really good position to win the game in the second half with the elements at our back.

“But we didn’t manage the game well at all. Newcastle did a lot better than us in terms of dealing with the conditions.

“They are very similar team to teams we’ve played like York and Doncaster. They have a big pack which gives them go-forward down the middle and then they try to exploit the spaces at the edge once they’ve got that roll on.

“We need to deal with the big men in the middle first and foremost and if we do that it should be a lot easier for us.”


The referee for this Kingstone Press League One Super Eights Round Five fixture at Kingston Park is Liam Staveley from Bradford. Staveley has refereed a number of the Cougars Reserves fixtures this season with his only previous first team appointment coming in January’s 42-0 pre-season triumph over Whitehaven.


The Cougars will be looking to bounce back from defeat at Whitehaven in order to keep hopes of a top five finish alive and kicking heading into the final two games of the season. Newcastle come into this fixture on the back of seven consecutive defeats but know they can turn Keighley over after the regular season meeting in June. Craig Lingard will be confident his side can get the job done while also hoping for a favour from York similar to that he got of Workington a fortnight since.

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